Cloud adoption has grown rapidly in recent years, and many companies are migrating to the cloud due to the significant benefits that it provides. Cloud migration is the process of moving corporate data and applications from on-prem data centers to cloud-based infrastructure. Organizations can adopt a range of migration strategies from “lifting and shifting” existing applications to the cloud to a complete re-architecture designed to take full advantage of the benefits of the cloud.
Some of the advantages that cloud-based infrastructure provides over on-prem data centers include:
Cloud infrastructure has been near-universally adopted because it provides access to business critical infrastructure and eliminates the overhead of on-prem hosting. However, it does come with risks. Some of the most common issues that organizations face during their cloud migration include the following:
One of the biggest risks of cloud migration is attempting to make the move without a clear, detailed cloud migration strategy. When making the move to the cloud, an organization must make several important decisions, including:
Not making these and other important decisions in advance can increase the cost, duration, and complexity of a cloud migration process. Also, making the wrong decisions can create significant security risks, such as storing or processing sensitive information in a public cloud environment.
In an on-prem environment, complex architectures are workable. Intra-site network latency is relatively low, so an organization can support a complex array of databases and applications without significant performance impacts.
When moving to the cloud, a complex existing infrastructure can put the success of the cloud migration at risk. Some of the potential impacts include:
Cloud infrastructure offers new architectural options, such as serverless applications. If an organization has a complex architecture, cloud migration provides an opportunity to re-design and re-architect an organization’s complex infrastructure.
Different CSPs have offerings with different features and strengths. For example, organizations looking for a general-purpose cloud might choose AWS, those that use LDAP and Active Directory may benefit from Azure’s built-in integration with these systems, Oracle Cloud specializes in databases and data management, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has strong data analytics capabilities.
The “right” cloud for an organization depends on its unique use cases. If an organization chooses a CSP that does not align with its intended uses, then it might not be able to extract the full value from its cloud migration and may face significant performance issues or a complex migration while trying to implement its required functionality in a non-ideal environment. Trying to fix these issues by migrating from one CSP to another can result in additional expenses and overhead.
When planning a cloud migration, an organization should thoroughly research the available options and ensure that their chosen cloud provider implements their required functionality and can support any necessary third-party solutions. Many organizations choose a multi-cloud infrastructure that provides optimal environments for various resources and use cases.
Many organizations’ IT environments have grown up over several years within an on-prem environment. Applications and infrastructure designed for on-prem deployment do not always translate well to a cloud environment.
As a result, an organization’s cloud migration process may be extended as it works to re-architect systems and applications for cloud environments. In general, a cloud migration can take a year or more.
Some impacts of an extended cloud migration include:
An extended migration process can hurt an organization and its customers. Before beginning the migration, a company should carefully consider its migration strategy and attempt to optimize performance and security throughout the entire migration process.
Throughout the cloud migration process, an organization must ensure that data and applications are secure. While a company may have a pre-migration and post-migration security strategy, this is not enough to protect its resources.
The organization will transition through numerous intermediate states as data and applications move to the cloud. If an organization’s security strategy does not adapt to provide adequate protection at each of these intermediate steps, then attackers may be able to steal data or exploit applications while the organization is in a vulnerable state.
A corporate cloud migration strategy must incorporate a migration security strategy. This includes plans for ensuring that corporate data and applications are appropriately protected at every stage of the migration process.
Making the move to the cloud can dramatically decrease an organization’s infrastructure costs. By outsourcing the management of an organization’s underlying infrastructure to a third-party provider, an organization can take advantage of the cost savings of its CSP’s optimizations and economy of scale.
However, an organization can only take full advantage of the cost savings of the cloud if its IT infrastructure is designed for the cloud. If an organization “lifts and shifts” legacy applications to cloud environments or purchases oversized service packages, then the cost of the cloud may exceed the cost of hosting the same infrastructure on-premises.
Additionally, “as a service” infrastructure means that an organization pays for what it uses. It is often difficult and complicated to monitor ongoing cloud costs, so cloud costs often spiral out of expectation, until the monthly bill arrives.
Cloud migration can be a tradeoff between short-term costs and long-term benefits. Designing and optimizing architecture and applications for cloud environments can reduce overhead and costs in the long term.
Securing a cloud migration process can be difficult. As a company moves through the cloud migration process, it passes through many different intermediate states as applications and data transition gradually from on-prem to cloud-based environments. Protecting an organization’s data and applications against exploitation requires frequent updates to the corporate security architecture to ensure that its resources are properly protected at every stage of the process. Performing a cloud migration both efficiently and securely requires an integrated security architecture that enables an organization to seamlessly update its security throughout the migration process.
A secure cloud migration starts with a secure cloud architecture. Check out Check Point’s Cloud Security Blueprint for guidance on designing a security architecture for your organization’s cloud infrastructure. Then, read these Best Practices for Secure Cloud Migration to learn how to secure your data and applications throughout the migration process.
After designing a secure migration process, your organization needs solutions capable of implementing it. Check out this buyer’s guide to learn about selecting a cloud network security solution. You’re also welcome to sign up for a free demo of Check Point CloudGuard to see how it can help to streamline and secure your cloud migration.